As lockdowns and school closures continue nationwide, emergency room visits related to suicide attempts are spiking, especially in the critical 12-17 years old demographic, in which these hospital visits are up a shocking 51 percent this year.
A recent report put out by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) showed the following alarming data, which actually indicates a 2-year increase, with things having previously gotten worse to the tune of 31 percent from 2019 to 2020:
"What is already known about this topic?
During 2020, the proportion of mental health–related emergency department (ED) visits among adolescents aged 12–17 years increased 31% compared with that during 2019.
What is added by this report?
In May 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, ED visits for suspected suicide attempts began to increase among adolescents aged 12–17 years, especially girls. During February 21–March 20, 2021, suspected suicide attempt ED visits were 50.6% higher among girls aged 12–17 years than during the same period in 2019; among boys aged 12–17 years, suspected suicide attempt ED visits increased 3.7%.
What are the implications for public health practice?
Suicide prevention requires a comprehensive approach that is adapted during times of infrastructure disruption, involves multisectoral partnerships and implements evidence-based strategies to address the range of factors influencing suicide risk."
For all age groups, the average emergency room visits due to suicide attempts also rose. It climbed 22.3 percent from 2019 to 2020, and a further 39.1 percent from 2020 to 2021.
Many experts directly attribute the spike in adolescent suicide attempts to school closures. According to the Daily Wire, people from San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera to Dr. Jeanne Noble, the UCSF Emergency Department's Covid Response Director.
Noble has previously stated, "The medical evidence is clear that keeping public schools closed is catalyzing a mental health crisis among school-aged children in San Francisco."